It was a high and noble thought.
All week I practiced for the big day, the day before Shabbat, to make the hamin for my son-in-law: each day I cooked a pot of lentil soup, a kind of hamin without any meat. My Uzbekistani neighbor got locked out of her house, so I sat her down and gave her some soup to test it out. She said “tasty soup!” So I sent the rest in a jar, plus a bag of fresh-baked squash cookies, to my daughter, on my husband’s bike ride to shul.
Friday morning, my daughter asked if they could come for Shabbat.
My son-in-law arrived to ask for his pot, which I gave him without much thought.
Our youngest son sprang into action. He fried schnitzels, munching while he worked, and boiled up a pot of Moroccan fish with hot peppers, the way Hananel likes it.
So things were going pretty well, but there’s one thing I haven’t told you:
Animal food is bad for my husband, Nathan.
So if schnitzel and meat appear on our table to tempt him, the vegetables had better be good. For most of the morning I checked and cooked organic chickpeas. Nathan picked some black corn from his garden so I checked and cooked that too. I cut up some onions, carrots, garlic, and celery, added turmeric, cumin, soy sauce, and Chinese sprouts, and stir-fried everything. I baked spelt bread. I checked and cooked a pot of organic brown rice. Then I peeled and baked potatoes, garlic, peppers, and sweet potatoes. I picked mint from the garden and made a pot of tea.
Then I checked the time: Candle-lighting started in twenty minutes. Uh oh.
At lightning speed I slid the fish into the oven and set the timer to turn off in half an hour.
Even if I had that pot, and the meat, and the dates, hamin would have been impossible.
I realized this was not a problem; Hananel must have cooked it at home.
I steeled myself: If a pot of hamin appears on my hot plate tomorrow, and reaches my table before the fish, I will smile and be quiet.
Shabbat arrived. Hananel arrived with his family. We did everything we were supposed to do, and then they walked home.
At ten in the morning, my son-in-law walked in and asked for my youngest son, Nachman. I tensed up; in a few minutes they would return with an extra-large pot of meat.
By noontime, I set the table. By one o’clock, I lined up the salads.
Nachman, looking sated and satisfied, walked in alone.
Then I understood: they had eaten the hamin at Hananel’s house, and probably all went to sleep.
Not long ago I would have burned with anger, since all this time I was waiting for them to arrive.
But, when you read Rivka Levy’s new post on https://www.emunaroma.com/blog/the-rising-sun-of-truth you will see it was the Rising Sun that lit up my personal black hole of guilt, confusion, and hostility. Its sweet light had coaxed me to release Hananel from his self-imposed duty to honor his in-laws, and me from cooking food that my husband can’t handle. And for once, I can hang loose when Shabbat shines in.